1. Get better with being on time. Let’s face it. You don’t have any real reasons why you’re late all the time. You just like to sweat before you arrive. You love rushing, feeling like you’re going to burst into flames on your way to anywhere.
But hey, your behavior affects the important people of your life. And it affects you even if you don’t want to admit it. I get it. You do it because you love creating chaos in your life — chaos that has always made sense to you — even though you have worked so hard to obtain a shred of normalcy in your everyday life. You are afraid timeliness is too normal, too smooth-sailing for you, or some weird shit like that. So you’re late.
Remember the drive-in with Alexa? She was not a happy camper. Neither were the people parked and maybe canoodling in their cars, trying to enjoy their movie in the dark while you were blasting your lights and trying to find a spot in the grass. You found a spot but there was a large truck blocking Alexa’s view so you backed up and found another one, blasting your lights and disrupting others a second time.
You will not waste away into normalcy if you’re on time. You don’t have to be perfect with time. But if there is something going on that is rad to another person you care about, show them that it’s rad to you too.
2. Shut up and write. I love you, but seriously, stop flapping the gums and just write. Right now. Blog more. Poetry more. Journal more. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Harder. More. Okay, that’s enough of that haha. But seriously, keep writing. Don’t worry about the stuff that you have submitted to places and how long it’s been in purgatory. Don’t agonize over it. Create new content and hack away at it. Have fun, experiment, and learn things while doing so. Rinse and repeat.
3. That being said: self-editing is good, but not when you’re self-editing your entire personhood alongside your writing. You are not your writing. It’s hard because you like writing nonfiction; I get it. You are accountable for your writing, for what you said, but you are more than what you capture in words. Everyone is. Writing is pictures and little bits.
Sometimes your creation is this over-analyzed, knotted ball of scraggly wire. Think about a picture of what the Internet actually looks like. A fucking mind fuck of wires. Anyway this ball — you don’t want to touch it, because you don’t even know where to begin. Because your negativity and anxiety tangled the lines.
Take ownership over the ball of mess. Feel bad for it, comfort it. But let it be what it is; know that it never even took off because you didn’t give it a chance to. It’s still embryonic. It’s not the last creation. And it’s CERTAINLY not all you will ever be and become, you know, as a living, breathing human being, not a character on paper.
4. Love the weight you’re at. Chase whatever number you want; we are all allowed to dream, right? But enjoy the number you’re at right now. The scale is a privilege. If you can’t use it correctly, don’t step a pinky toe on it. Enjoy the number the scale screams at you. Laugh in its flat, lifeless face, and carry on with your day truly believing that you are one hot piece of ass.
5. Say thank you instead of sorry. You saw this online somewhere. You liked it enough to include here. Stop apologizing for existing. That’s a little extreme, wouldn’t you say? Saying thank you has much more power and meaning for all parties involved.
6. Start singing again. Even if it’s karaoke. You keep getting these urges to belt out things like you used to. Didn’t you just quit smoking? Use this important win to your advantage. Test out your rusty pipes. Keep pestering your dad about those keyboards. You used to kind of play, at least hold a tune. Do you even remember? Do you even remember that you wrote songs before you wrote anything else? Let the sounds of your inner world accompany you. Everyone knows by now music is a secret passageway. Make your escape. Use music when the stories are a backed up sewer, when words are locking you behind bars.
7. Cut down the Facebook time. I know you love to feel connected to your fellow man and woman and care about their lives. People are important. You need people. You like people. But there is a limit, especially while you are driving. Stop scrolling scrolling scrolling scrolling forever scrolling. Stop. Just stop this madness. You can comment on the weight loss later. You can look at the baby pictures another time. Or not. That doesn’t mean you don’t care. Oh, and you watched the video with the bat eating the banana 10 times already. I know it makes you feel good. So does expending energy and doing new things.
Also, you do this thing where you get down on yourself when you see smiling families and large groups of people belonging and loving on one another. Remember there is another side to this, maybe a few sides. You don’t live with these people. You don’t know the inter workings of their family and personal lives, which are taped off zones for a good amount of folks. You don’t know what hurts and where simply because there are still hoards of people out there who believe that showing what hurts will be their annihilation. But you don’t get to judge this behavior. People have every right to guard what is theirs, especially while it hurts. In a way, it’s instinctual to guard weakness. Don’t be naïve as to why. There are preying mantises among us.
And maybe when they are done hurting and seeing past hurt, they can have an impact on those who continue the cycles of suffering in silence.
One last thing. Earth to Sarah: You have circles you belong to too. Friends, co-workers, gym buddies, a writing group, etc. Wake up and smell the beautiful faces around you. Sure, maybe some are unorthodox in some ways, but you have them. Or you can create more. Stop treating yourself like a long lost orphan. You are not alone.
8. Drop the hero complex. How about being the best you can? Stop punishing yourself for not “saving people,” whatever the fuck that means anyway. I’m sorry sugar, but sometimes you do more damage when you try to help, err, let’s be honest, control someone else’s situation that is not yours to control. Positive feedback, encouragement, hugs, hopeful thoughts. These sound like greeting card kind of things, but if this is what you have, give it. (Plus you’d like to think that you say things better than greeting cards do.) No one needs to be physically sleeping in your living room. Stop mothering. You’re not a mom yet.
9. Be kinder to your back and knees. Can you feel them buzzing? They are trying to tell you something. Like chill out, man. Transition the running and zumba, all of the pounding. I know you love them, but it’s time for new things. You’re going to like new things, I promise. Remember yoga exists. You want to try out yoga with your friends. You said so yourself. Listen to your body. It’s craving something new.
10. Don’t fiercely project onto others and don’t allow yourself to be defined by what others project onto you. Projection is standard life shit. But it can get messy. Be aware of when it’s happening. Apologize if you know and catch yourself flinging your internal goodies onto someone else. Everyone’s reality is different. Also, opinions are still not facts, no matter what the Internet makes you believe.
11. Try new things. Like that Polish restaurant Sean took you to on your birthday. You liked it so much you told your 100 percent Polish friend she would like it, even though you know her mom cooks like a boss. Not just with food places. Work out places. Learning arenas. Hell, take an art workshop or class at Harper on business, InDesign, whatever.
You have lived in the same area for longer than 13 years now (HOLY SHIT. Sorry, but HOLY SHIT.) Anyway, it’s safe to say you can shake things up a bit.
12. Don’t snub your nose at faith. Get in touch with your spirituality, even though you keep pushing it off. Believe in miracles. Pray to no one, someone, yourself, everyone. It doesn’t matter who or what is creating the miracles, you’ve already decided. But start snooping around your beliefs. You have this year and the rest of your life to create your own basic framework. Align to something. Anything. Even if it’s handmade.
13. Take your own advice. You see this list? Read it again and again. You give little bits and pieces of this to other people all the time. But you get so down on yourself that you barely listen to the important things you’re trying to say. People seem to trust you for a reason. Why can’t you trust yourself? You are a good person who tries really hard. Be nice to yourself. Listen to your insides. Maybe you should re-write this, and make #13 your #1.
This is good. You did good, you wonderful, old broad.